Sunday, February 3, 2013

How I came to know the Lord 2/4 - turning point

The turning point - God did 3 things (cont from part 1)

Then I enter the university. Even with the influences of my Christian friends earlier I did not gain much understanding about God. I had a girlfriend at that time (she is my wife now) and I remember bringing her into a church around city area, sat her down and began to tell her all the things about Christianity that simply makes no sense to me. I was kind of scolding God then, imagine that.
A few years after that I was working in a research lab working towards a M.Eng degree. Growing up, I always thought one can do anything, if one tries hard enough. A man's effort could get him to become anything. And there is nothing apart from a man's efforts.

Then something happened that shattered that perception. At that time I was programming a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chip to do adaptive noise cancellation. I ordered 3 FPGA chips worth about USD8k. While speaking to a friend one day and not fully paying attention, the 3 chips slided down in their holder and their little surface mount pins were badly bent. Each chip has 240 little metal legs around them and each leg has 2 right angles. The legs were so small it is not possible to use hand to bend them back exactly to their original position. When I use them subsequently, the contacts had become unstable. Some pins ("metal legs") would be in contact and some will not. I would then do a redesign of my chip such that I would not need to use those pins that could not be connected. The fastest computer PC I can buy at that time will take 8 hours to compile a redesign. And when I retest after 8 hours, some pins that used to be in contact would not be in contact and some pins that used not to be in contact would be in contact. I did everything I could. It was no longer a case of diligence. I would have done anything I can, no matter how hard it is. But for the very first time in my life, I realized my effort isn't enough.

How did that truth elude me my whole life? All the education I had never taught me. I could not control myself very well. I do what I didn't want to do and didn't do what I want to do. I could not control how others behave. I could not control external factors like the weather, etc. In fact, nothing in life has been withing my grasp. I realized I was just being vain all these years. Anyway, I had no choice but to continue trying, as the religion I was in then has no concept of God and I had never believe there is one.

But as it dragged, I was brought to utter despair. And in my despair, I had no choice and I prayed to God my first prayer. I said: "God, you know I don't believe in you. But if you exist, then help me in this. And if you do, I would not give you anything in return." It was an unconditional prayer. I knew it is not possible for me to become a Christian even if God answered my prayer, knowing my family situation and my responsibility towards my parents. And God answered. Shortly after the prayer, I did something a little different that did not make any sense but then all of the chip's pins touched and remained stable. It was a miracle. In my heart of hearts, I knew there is a God and He answered my prayers. Unknown to me, God was showing me His attributes. And His first answer to me showed me that He is Unconditional. I kept my side of the margin, which is to do nothing for Him.

Then I began work in a company. We needed to do up a presentation on our work and present it to our big boss. Our direct boss would sit in. I was too complacent and did not prepare the materials in time when the meeting was brought forward. 2 of us presented that day, HH and me. HH laughed at me when I told him I had only 2 slides. He couldn't believe I was in that bad a shape. He had 20 over slides complete with animation. I found his feelings about me totally understandable. But when HH started to present, the big boss began to question him and when HH could not answer satisfactorily, he was scolded by the big boss. The more it went on, the more it dawned on me that I would suffer a worse fate than HH. I trembled uncontrollable in the meeting, in part due to the strong air-conditioning, in part due to the fear I had. When it was my turn, I asked to go to the washroom. At the washroom I told God: "Help me! Why don't you remove the bosses and let me return to an empty room. That would be great!" Alas, it wasn't so. I returned to the meeting room and they were there. Their eyebrows were raised when I told them I had only 2 slides. I tried to speak more and refer less to my slides. I see them nodding their heads as I spoke. Shortly the big boss' phone rang and he left. Then my boss' phone rang and she also needed to leave. She told us that the next department had a buffet lunch and we need to join them. She then told me that I did well and she told HH off, asking him to represent at a later date. HH and I looked at each other when we left that meeting room that day. In our minds we probably were thinking the same thing. That it is as if the outcomes were switched for us. I should have been scolded but I wasn't. He should have done well but he got scolded. That incident taught me that God can give favor for our own misdoings. (Cont in part 3)

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